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New Product Pricing strategies

New Product Pricing strategies

New Product Pricing/Pricing strategies

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Introduction

The main reason as to why a marketer comes up with a product is so as to satisfy some particular need in the society. The producers thus intend to fill a particular gap in the market place by producing a particular good and at the same time make profits. Setting a price for this product is a very important task as price has to meet the balance between the utility of the product to a buyer and at the same time ensure that the seller gains a profit. This paper will explain the introduction of dietax meal free cholesterol takeaway boxes into the market, the market segmentation for the product, the target market as well as the pricing strategies. The product lifecycle will also be taken into consideration and the prices that will be charged at the different stages.

a) Product

Dietax is an already packaged takeaway meal that is new in the market and it is cholesterol free so as to cater for the needs of those consumers who want to live healthy by eating healthy. The main ingredients in this takeaway meal are raw foods that make it non perishable and thus making it to even be on the shelves and fridges of the supermarket as well as the retail shops. These raw foods including some varieties of vegetables and fresh vitamins and cereals

b) Market segmentation

Market segmentation requires that a producer should know their customers well as well as ensuring that the customers get exactly what they desire from the product (Art, 2004).Art (2004) emphasizes that the process also involves an establishment of strong relationships with the co marketing partners and in a nutshell he defines it as the process in which he a marketer partitions his market into customers who have similar needs thus their consumer behavior is similar or almost similar. In the case of dietax whole packaged meal market segmentation is developed so as to reach the various market segments. The method used for dietax whole meal market segmentation is benefit segmentation (Charles, W., Joseph, F and Carl, M., 2008).This sort of segmentation groups the customers according to the benefit which they derive from the consumption of a product. This group of people is the ones seeking for a nutritious diet without any artificial ingredients out of will or even doctor’s prescription. This particular clientele is derived form people who watch a healthy nutritional intake and at the same time they lack enough or appropriate time to prepare their own meals. This could arise due to their busy schedules that would render it inconvenient for them to do their meals and thus they buy.

c) The benefit market segmentation was arrived at as a method of market segmentation because the target market is composed of people who have similar needs to cut on their calories and to live healthy.

d) Target market

The niche market has been identified by use of psychographics which refers to a group of people who have similar lifestyles attitudes and values as far as diet intake is concerned. As earlier noted the dietax whole meal is free from cholesterol and is also rich in nutrients which are also balanced to ensure that the packaged meal meets all the diet requirements of those people who consume it.

The niche market therefore consists of the following classes of people;

The elderly people who are interested in the consumption of healthy meals and they may not make it to prepare their own meals. Research by the marketing team prior to the production of the dietax meal revealed that there is a large number of elderly people between the age of 60 to 80 years who would like to consume healthy meals but they also they are not in the constant behavior of preparing these meals in their homes.

The people who are suffering from maladies such as blood pressure problems or diabetes and are under the doctor’s prescription of consuming only healthy meals also forms a target market for the dietax whole meal.

Obese adolescent kids who are attempting to watch their weight and are thus on the lookout for the healthy meals and any other obese person attempting to cut down their weight.

Any other person who would like to eat healthy and thus maintain a healthy look and also live long.

e) This product has the benefit of being rich in nutrients and still low in cholesterol thus ensuring that the product is beneficial to the target market by helping them eat and live healthy.

f) The introductory price for dietax is $3.50 per package.

g) The pricing strategy that is used is skimming so as to recover the production costs incurred for the product and thus make it profitable. Skimming shall accomplish the objective of capturing a profit margin that is high and also in achieving an objective of recapturing the production costs.

h) The product is worth this price for the different costs that are have been incurred in the research prior to its production and also to recover the production cost as well as ensure that the producer makes a profit after the sales.

i) The prices charged at the different stages of production are

3.50$ at introduction stage which is relatively high so as to make high profit

3.00$ at the growth stage. The price is reduced so as to capture more customers in the market. At this stage the distribution is also more intense and the discounts are also reduced.

2.75$ is charged at the maturity stage in response to the rising competition from people producing similar products. At this stage incentives are offered so as to make sure competitive products will not drive product out of market,

2.75$ the prices are maintained at this stage as the niche market still identifies with the product and makes high purchases.

Conclusion

The dietax whole meal product as newly introduced in the market has to be promoted and brought to the doorposts of the clientele and this will be especially necessary especially in the initial stages of its production. The product is introduced using the skimming pricing strategy so as to recover the costs that are incurred especially during the research process. This price is reduced slightly after the introduction stage of the product so as to ensure that the price is favorable and also so that it competes effectively with the competing products. The product will also keep undergoing innovations so as to ensure that it meets the standards that are expected and thus maintain the loyalty of the customers.

References

Art, W. (2004) Handbook of market segmentation: strategic targeting for business and technology firms. Chicago. Probus Publishing Co.

Charles,W.,Joseph,F.&Carl.M.(2009) Marketing.USA. Cengage Learning

Malcom, M &Ian, D (2004) Market segmentation: how to do it, how to benefit from it. Oxford. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

Walter,L., Michael,V &Craig,C (2010)The price advantage USA McKinsey and Company

William, M., Robert, J. &Jack, R. (2009) Business.USA. Cengage learning.

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Death Perception

Death Perception

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Death Perception

Introduction

The two poems, “Elegy for my father, who is not dead” by Andrew Hudgins and “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas portray perceptions about death from different people. “Elegy for my father, who is not dead” by Andrew Hudgins shows its perception from the eyes of a son and a father. The father is ready to leave the world and wants to go with the son. However, the son feels that he has not lived yet and is not ready to leave death as his father is. It has two perceptions of a younger generation and an older one that has lived its life. “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas portrays the perception of a son’s plea to his father that he may not just leave the world gently but do so with a rage. In spite of the life that the father has lived, the son still feels that there is still enough life left in him to make one last impact before he dies. The son suggests that his father should apply the zeal he had in his young life before he dies. It depicts the need to live one’s life to the full before death beckons. The poems show that while the old are ready to let go and accept death, the young are not ready and would like the older generation to continue fighting for their lives. The young generation is not satisfied with the efforts their fathers are putting in their lives. In addition, they perceive the place where one goes after death as being a good one where they are peaceful and rested.

Comparison of the two poems

The poems are similar in the sons” perceptions. In both of them, the sons feel that they are not ready to let go of this world. In the first poem “Elegy for my father, who is not dead” by Andrew Hudgins, the son envisions his father’s death and how his father sees it as a welcome relief as he awaits his son to join him. According to the poem, the son thinks, “he thinks that when I trail him he’ll wrap me in his arms and chuckle, they way he did when I got on earth” (Hudgins n.p.). In addition, he feels that the father’s perception towards his impending death is too cavalier, and he is not okay with that. The author writes about the son, “I can’t just say goodbye as cheerfully as if he were embarking on a trip to make my later trip go well” (Hudgins n.p.). He is uncertain about the whole issue. The second poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas also depicts a son who is not ready to face the death of his father. He feels that there should be more fight from his father, and he should not accept death “lying” down. In the poem he says, “do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at the close of day” (Thomas n.p). He depicts his father’s situation as a “sad height” and beseeches him to fight. Both sons are not ready to see their father’s go yet and wish they would put more fight for their lives.

The second theme is the depiction of death as leading to a gentler place, giving the perception of a better place. In the first poem “Elegy for my father, who is not dead” by Andrew Hudgins, the son thinks of the father as being ready to go to a fresh world where he seems to be assured of his reservations. Hudgins states that, “in the sureness of his faith, he talks about the world beyond this world as though his reservations have been made…. a little bit – a new desire to travel building up, an itch to see fresh worlds” (Hudgins n.p). This shows that the father believes he is going to a better place. In the second poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas, the son describes the death as a “good night.” This seems to be why he asks his father to rage against a dying light. The son beseeches his father several times “not go gentle into that good night” (Thomas n.p). The use of the word good shows that the place where people are perceived to after death is a good one, possibly better than the one they live in.

Conclusion

Both poems, “Elegy for my father, who is not dead” by Andrew Hudgins and “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas show that the sons are not prepared to accept the passing away of their fathers and feel they should fight more for their lives rather than just die without a struggle. In the first poem, the son feels the father is already ready for his death while he himself is not ready to say goodbye to him. In the second poem, the son feels his father is giving in to death without a fight. He wishes that is father would not go so gently but instead go out with rage. Both poems also agree that the fathers will be going to a more peaceful and better place after their deaths. The first poem refers to the place as being a fresher world while the second refers to it as leading to a good night.

Works Cited

Hudgins, A. Elegy for my Father, who is not Dead. Web. March 30, 2013 from http://flouri.shyou.org/wikianthology/elegyformyfatherwhoisnotdead

Thomas, D. Do not go gentle into that good night. Web. March 30, 2013 from http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/do-not-go-gentle-into-that-good-night/

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Death penalty also known as capital punishment is defined as the pre- meditated

Death penalty also known as capital punishment is defined as the pre- meditated

Death Penalty

Introduction

Death penalty also known as capital punishment is defined as the pre- meditated and planned taking of human life by the government because the legally convicted individual committed a crime against humanity that requires such a punishment. Death penalty is a topic which often raises ethical issues and many people have stood to oppose the judgment basing their facts on human values and the dignity of human life. Others have also risen to support the practice also basing their arguments of social norms, certain believe and the weight of the crime committed. Death penalty is indeed a hot topic and people have varied views concerning the practice weather it should be stopped or should continue even to the future.Cons for death penalty​Amnesty international which is a strong opposer of the death penalty argues that, the death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. This practice is premeditated and is killing in cold-blood human beings by the state as a way of exercising justice. They further urge that it is a violation of human right; the right to life, it is cruel, inhuman and humiliating penalty. Justification can never exist in a cruel treatment or torture. Ideally the death penalty diminished everybody, increases disrespect to human life and offers a serious irony whereby the society is taught that killing is wrong by killing. Catholic Campaign to End the Use of the Death Penalty provides that Death penalty has no credible evidence that it will deter crime more effectively as compared with life imprisonment. States which have death penalty as a way of punishment as well have crime rates or murder cases as those states without the death penalty punishment. Additionally, there is no significant change in crime or murder in States that have abolished capital punishment. This implies that death penalty has no deterrent effect and Science has thoroughly discredited the claims that execution deters a given number of murderers.Opposes greatly discredit Revenge or retribution. They argue that the desire for revenge is not the rational response to a crime although it is mostly understood by some people as the lowest human emotion one can express. Killing a person who he skilled somebody very close to you is just a way of continuing the cycle of violence which finally destroys the offended and the avenger. The death penalty portrays revenge and in fact it solidifies social solidarity against the lawbreakers and forms an alternative for private revenge for the harmed.Capital punishment is not cost effective as compared with other forms of punishments. Although executing a person is less expensive than life imprisoning him/ her, the costs incurred in the courts of law for appeals are equally very high and amounts to a net expense to the state and taxpayers. Or we can argue it in a different way that death penalty is clearly more expensive than an alternative method of handling the same crime with a lesser punishment. It is lengthy, has complicated trials, and everything needed for a ordinary trial l is as well needed for a death penalty trial but only twice as much is needed for the death penalty. So it is not cost effective form of punishment as many try t urge.United States department of justice produced a report that showed that between 2001 and 2006 48 % of the defendants in court whose penalty could be death penalty were African Americans. This is an indication that death penalty is a biased punishment that is targeting the minority over racial grounds. It is completely un acceptable because there is n no justice in killing some criminals and leaving others who have committed the same crimes on racial basing(Jamie Fellner & Sarah Toft, 2006).Capital punishment brings more sorrow to a larger family society. The family of the executed is innocent but also sufferer the pain as the family of the innocent who was murdered. This perpetrates more hatred and harm among the families involved. Instead of bringing protection it creates more violence.Reasons for capital punishment

Clark County, an Indiana prosecuting attorney general supports death penalty by arguing that those who commit murder with aggravating circumstances must meet the ultimate punishment that the society has to give. Life is sacred and it needs to be protected and respected at all costs. The life of an innocent murder is made cheap if the victim is not stopped by the society from ever killing again.  So the society sentencing the murderer to the ultimate death penalty they are protecting themselves or are portraying the act of self defense so as to protect the innocent.Prison is meant for three purposes first, it separates the criminals from the r general public, second, serves as a form of punishment, and third, the punishment is intended to rehabilitate the prisoners so that when they are released from jail they will not again commit similar crimes the imprisoned then and risk being sentenced to prison again. Capital punishment is logically based on the fact that prisons are meant for rehabilitating the convicts who will finally be released from prison at some time and not for life imprisoned criminals. They should be eliminated by execution.Crime rate increases because the justice system does not work well. Millions of people has been killed and many will continue to be killed. Time magazine recorded that 2000000 people are beaten in the United States of America whereby some are knifed, shot or assaulted. Crime growth has been rising and is expected to raise more because there is leniency going together with the rising number of victims of crime (Jamie Fellner & Sarah Toft, 2006). Many loop holes created for offenders has increased the crime rate drastically. Capital punishment is the only one which will scare people and help decline the crimes.Constitutionality: execution method of punishment may result in pain either as a punishment or as an unavoidable effect death. However, this does not establish the kind of objectively intolerable risk of harm. Courts argue that execution is not cruel and the society has adopted a more humane way of carrying it out (Jamie Fellner & Sarah Toft, 2006).Capital punishment acts as a deterrent of crime and this worked for 27 states. In America, states which abolished death penalty had a 7% rise of murder cases as compared to those states which were keen on capital punishment (Jamie Fellner & Sarah Toft, 2006). People fear death and as a result they will avoid committing serious crimes which will make them be judged over murder hence death penalty. Death penalty acts as a treat to the criminal even though it is not excessive, unnecessary penalty for those who commit murder intentionally in premeditation.Capital punishment is an eye for an eye. People may argue that death penalty tries to disregard and brutalize the society while others may argue that the penalty is legal for it is like an “eye for an eye”. Punishment differs from crime in this wise, punishment is legal while crime is not. People don’t get brutal because of punishments but because of failure to seriously punch crime. Putting a criminal in prison for life does not sound brutal enough to deter the society from doing the crime again as death penalty could do. Death penalty is irrevocable and that is why many people fear it (Jamie Fellner & Sarah Toft, 2006).Reasons for and against Religions have different views concerning the punishment especially death penalty. There are contradictory belies individual religions have for example the bible commends death penalty and at the same time it states that murder is not allowed and that salvation must be offered. Due to varied believes and nor all people are Christian the role of religion in capital punishment is unclear. This is the reason the church and state must be separated.Each person has a subjective view on the morality of killing a person. Over one’s life, morals and believes can change either for the better or for worse. Executing a person denies him a chance to change for the better and also keeping him life may give him a chance of even being more violent and killing many innocent people.

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Death of Osama Bin Laden Effect on Al-Qaeda

Death of Osama Bin Laden Effect on Al-Qaeda

 

 

 

 

Death of Osama Bin Laden: Effect on Al-Qaeda

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Death of Osama bin Laden: Effect on Al-Qaeda

International security is a challenging administrative task for governments because of the discrete nature in which terrorism networks run their terror activities. Terrorism is a post 9/11 security threat that affects all nations (Kepel & Milelli, 2008). Even advanced technology-based security equipment lack mechanisms to check radical activities since terror groups use discreet warfare techniques. The western world correlated the death of Osama bin Laden with the end of violent extremity associated with his Al-Qaeda network. However, the US-led invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan to flush out terrorists opened the Osama network. This is true since the attack failed to eliminate the core leadership of Al-Qaeda. The United States believed to have destabilized the Al-Qaeda network through the death of Osama, but the new network’s face reveals otherwise. Al-Qaeda’s leadership structure was decentralized to hide from security systems following Osama’s death, but the network has expanded into different political territories from its invincible state to launch terror attacks worldwide.

Foundation of Al-Qaeda

Osama founded Al-Qaeda in 1988, in Saudi (Kepel & Milelli, 2008). The network took advantage of the failed state of Somalia to established discreet training grounds from the early 1990s. In 1993, during the Battle of Mogadishu, Al-Qaeda killed American troops (Zimmerman, 2013). However, the network remained underground until 1996 when Osama declared war on the United States for supporting Israel’s aggressive occupation of the Middle East. By 2001, Al-Qaeda had created a bureaucratic system of affiliated networks in Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Uzbekistan (Kepel & Milelli, 2008). Al-Qaeda’s leadership structure fell under Ayman al-Zawahiri, who decentralized the organization by forging new alliances with independent like-minded violent groups in North Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. “In this respect, since 2002, Al-Qaeda has embraced a grand plan for itself that was defined as much by al-Zawahiri as bin Ladin” (Canadian Security Intelligence Service, 2013, p. 31). Affiliates under the new leadership structure run a vast network of terrorists who are trained to thrive in destabilized political states with the intention of creating sharia states.

Al-Qaeda Today

Empirical studies assert that there is a connection linking most of the destabilized nations with Al-Qaeda activities (Ward, 2013). This explains why Osama selected the failed state of Somalia as a training ground for terror groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Political instability is a precursor for clandestine military operations, but the modern Al-Qaeda is operating in strong democracies in order to destabilize these states (Eilstrup-Sangiovanni & Jones, 2008). For instance, the Taliban switched their operations from Afghanistan to Pakistan since the Asian nation is more discreet and stable than Iraq and Afghanistan. Moreover, the Arab spring exposed the increased mobility and strength of the Al-Qaeda networks that rallied protests and caused violence in Egypt, Mali, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria (Joscelyn, 2013). Mobility of terrorism groups has become easier because of the consistent chain of destabilized states stretching from Asia, through the Arab to Africa. The most afflicted states include: Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Syria, Libya, and Mali (Rosenberg & Coker, 2010). Failed states create a readily accessible pool of Al-Qaeda terrorists that support international insurgency operations, which threaten international security.

The goal of terror organizations is to replace democracies with sharia laws. This happened in Egypt, whereby after the protests, the people were offered two Islamic choices to choose from as leader (Eilstrup-Sangiovanni & Jones, 2008). However, when the winning group tried to carry out sharia law, mass protests erupted again, and the Egyptian military ousted the triumphant government (Eilstrup-Sangiovanni & Jones, 2008). The appointment of Nasir al Wuhayshi as the general manager by Ayman al Zawahiri streamlined terrorism in North Africa and Arab states (Rosenberg & Coker, 2010). New appointments increased militant operations of Al-Qaeda in Syria, Egypt, and Libya. Rebellion offers the Al-Qaeda an easy access to build secret networks that train terrorism activities intended to set up sharia states.

In conclusion, terrorism is thriving under the leadership of Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced Osama. The new leader decentralized Al-Qaeda, and he productively established independent training branches across many destabilized states. The readily available pool of trained terrorists ready to join the Al-Qaeda organization threatens international security. The insurgency network has successfully established sharia law governents in some of the Arab and North African states. Security is a collective duty for all states; however, if the consistent Al-Qaeda political activities in Syria, Egypt, and Libya remain unchecked, terrorism activities would increase in Europe and America. Finally, the death of Osama opened a new invincible opportunity for Al-Qaeda to run discreetly in destabilizing states to start sharia law.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

References

Canadian Security Intelligence Service. (2013). The future of Al-Qaeda: Results of a foresight project (Publication No. 2013-05-01). Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Security Intelligence Service Press.

Eilstrup-Sangiovanni, M., & Jones, C. (2008). Assessing the dangers of illicit networks. Why Al-Qaeda may be less threatening than many think. Journal of International Security, 33(2), 7-44. Retrieved from http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/isec.2008.33.2.7

Joscelyn, T. (2013, November 21). Al-Qaeda and the threat in North Africa. The Long War Journal. Retrieved from http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/11/al_qaeda_and_the_thr_1.php

Kepel, G., & Milelli, J. (2008). Al Qaeda in its own words. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Rosenberg, M., & Coker, M. (2010, January 5). “Mobility helps Al-Qaeda extend reach.” The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB126255817317714101

Ward, J. (2013). Brand name terror: Al-Qaeda affiliate organizations and local instability. Stanford University. Retrieved from http://iis-db.stanford.edu/docs/785/Ward_Jessica_

Thesis_Final.pdf

Zimmerman, K. (2013). The Al-Qaeda network: A new framework for defining the enemy. (Publication No. 2013-09-10). Washington, DC: Critical Threats Organization. Retrieved from American Enterprise Network website: http://www.aei.org/files/2013/09/10/-the-al-qaeda-network-a-new-framework-for-defining-the-enemy_133443407958.pdf

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Death of a Salesman. A play by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman. A play by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman – A play by Arthur Miller

 

 

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Death of a Salesman – A play by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller is a leading American playwright who has written several plays that take place in the family and home setting and are especially noted for the modern-day moral and political statements that they make. “Death of a Salesman” is arguably the most widely read and praised of all of Arthur Millers’ works. Arthur Miller was born in New York City. His father was a Jew who moved from Poland to the United States. His mother was however born in New York, but her father came from the same town as Miller. The unexpected misfortunes in his family are what gave him the desire to change hence writing his best selling work that included “Death of a Salesman” and “Timebends: A Life”

In “Death of a Salesman”, Arthur Miller looks critically at the concept of the ‘American Dream’ of making it big simply through the idea that one is ‘well liked’ or through one’s ‘personal attractiveness’, as the major character in the play puts it as. Miller has also attempted to put his play across as a tragedy, but it does not quite fit in as a tragedy since the supposed ‘hero’ in the play is not quite a hero to anyone but quite the opposite, a failure in every sense of the word.

The play looks at the lives of the Loman family – Willy Loman, an elderly traveling salesman, who lives in a world of false hopes and dreams, who is living a life of illusions and delusions, and who eventually commits suicide in an attempt to redeem himself in his family’s eyes after failing miserably to achieve his American Dream of prosperity and riches; Biff Loman, Willy’s thirty four-year old son, who represents Willy’s tragic side. Biff tries hard to live up to his father’s hopes and dreams of living the American Dream but an event he witnessed involving his father’s marital infidelity makes him loose his trust and belief in his father and he becomes a drifter out West on a cattle ranch. In the end he is the only member of the family who snaps out of the false life that his father has been attempting to instill in the whole family as he comes to realize that he is just an ordinary man, a ‘dime a dozen’ and not a ‘great leader of men’ as his father wants him to think; Happy Loman, Willy’s thirty two-year old son, who stands for Willy’s ambitious side.

Happy has forever lived in his elder brother’s shadow and is always attempting to gain his father’s admiration and approval. Yet he is the only member of the family who is a success story of sorts. He is the assistant to an assistant buyer in a department store but deems himself a very important person because he owns a car and lives in his own apartment. Like his father he has low morals and sleeps with call girls. Unlike his brother, he fails to see reality and appears to be the one member of the family who will attempt to achieve his father’s desires and ambitions. He says of his father ”…He had a good dream, the only dream a man can have – to come out number one man. He fought it out here, and this where I’m gonna win it for him.”; and last but not least, Linda Loman, Willy’s loving and loyal wife who has stood by Willy for many years. She is aware of Willy’s delusions and illusions but she suffers through it all quietly and with great patience. She is the arbitrator in the family whenever Willy fights with Biff or Happy. She is fond of taking her husband’s side during these arguments and is always chiding her sons not to irk or desert their father. She knows that Willy wants to commit suicide but does not attempt to stop this from happening, probably because she is so tired herself and wants it all to end too.

In his play, Miller has brought out a number of themes. He talks about the American Dream which every American was trying to live in the 1930’s-1960’s. This is a dream to achieve prosperity via the fastest and easiest route possible. Miller’s view of the American Dream is that it is not achievable by the majority of ordinary Americans. Willy Loman has this dream for himself and for his sons also, yet he and his eldest son both do not succeed in living it. He tells his wife, “In the greatest country in the world a young man with such personal attractiveness, gets lost.” referring to the failure of his elder son Biff to become someone worthwhile as he himself had always wanted to be. Biff also sometimes feels the pressure of this dream, even though he is otherwise comfortable working as a farm hand on a ranch. He says to his brother, “[When spring comes out West] I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I’m not getting anywhere! I’m thirty-four years old; I oughta be makin’ my future.” Perhaps Happy Loman is the only Loman who has reached somewhere on the road to the fulfillment of the American Dream. Nonetheless he does not appear satisfied with it. Biff asks Happy, “You’re a success, aren’t you? Are you content?” Happy replies, “Hell no! … But then, it’s what I’ve always wanted. My own apartment, a car, plenty of women. And still, goddammit, I’m lonely.” It appears to me that the playwright is bringing out a point here, that the American Dream is not achievable by majority of the ordinary Americans (in this case two members of the Loman family).

When the dream is achieved, it appears not to make the achiever content (only one member of the Loman family). Putting this into context one realizes that playwright is expressing his communist views here against capitalism. One critic states, “Arthur Miller, who is one of the last unrepentant Marxists, obviously sees Willy as a victim of capitalism.” Miller’s view is that capitalism leads eventually to the downfall of individuals. In the play Willy eventually commits suicide for the sake of money and his last-ditch attempt to redeem himself in the eye’s of his eldest son is quite sad. His plan is that the insurance money coming from his death would be used by Biff to start a sporting goods business, and he justifies this to his dead brother Ben. Ben tells him “…it’s a cowardly thing.” Willy replies, “Why? Does it take more guts to stand here the rest of my life ringing up a zero?” Miller’s critic states in defense of capitalism, “One doesn’t really expect an intellectual to have any real understanding of economics (or much else for that matter) but Miller, in reducing capitalism to nothing more than a kind of cheap hucksterism, has followed in the footsteps of Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the like, with equally obtuse results.”

Miller has also attempted to include the element of tragedy into his play. He portrays Willy’s suicide as a heroic ‘modern’ tragedy. Willy in Act II tells his brother Ben in reference to Biff benefiting from the insurance money, “Imagine, when the mail comes, he’ll be ahead of Bernard again!” This can be interpreted as Miller portraying his main character as a hero who is sacrificing himself for the benefit of another person. But does the play merit the title of a modern tragedy? The critic argues, “The problem with trying to imbue this play with the aura of tragedy is not that Willy Loman is a little man, it’s that he’s not a good man: he’s not much of a salesman; he cheats on his wife; he lives vicariously and unfairly through his eldest son, then makes excuses for that son’s pathological misbehavior; he virtually ignores his second son; he’s a real bastard to friends, neighbors and extended family; and so on.”

Conclusively, Miller tries to portray in his book that the American dream is hard to achieve. The main character Willy tries to live the American dream and when he fails he instills the same notion in his children so that they can follow in his footsteps. One can think they are living their American dream but in the end, they are still sad and they realize that it is not possible to get everything one dreams for. If one looks carefully and critically at this play one realizes it is not a tragedy. It is simply a story of a misguided and immoral individual, blinded by his dreams, having no clear direction of living them out, trying to force them onto his eldest son, but in the end failing miserably. As Biff said quite correctly, “He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong.” Perhaps the American Dream is a wrong dream.

Works Cited:

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. London: Heinemann, 1994. Print.

Review of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. (Retrieved on 23rd September 2010) From:

HYPERLINK “http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/473” http://brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/473

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Death of a Salesman is a play written by Miller, Arthur in 1949

Death of a Salesman is a play written by Miller, Arthur in 1949

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Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman is a play written by Miller, Arthur in 1949. Its story revolves around the life of Willy Loman’s family. His wife is Linda and their two son’s Biff and Happy. Willy Loman proves to be a protagonist all along this play. He starts with worrying about their son Biff even being as tired as he is. This is evident when he complains to his wife that Biff needs to make a good in his life even after he failed in senior year math exam and did not proceed to college. He is devoted to his job that is why he attends business trips far away from his home town. This portrays his attitude towards his work. In the play, Willy also gets angry because his sons, Biff and Happy, did not become what he wanted them to be. Even with Biffs’ promise to succeed in athletics/agons, he did not amount to any of that. The two sons and Willy a meet up at a dinner restaurant and he is left alone when Biff and Happy walk out on him after he refuses to listen to Biffs’ business proposal. Later on at home, Biff goes outside to clear the conflict with his father and the conversation ends with the two of them hugging after Biff asks Willy to accept him for who he is not who he failed to become and tells him that he loves him. On realizing that his son has forgiven him and wants to pursue a business career, the play hits climax when Willy commits suicide through an accident so that Biff can use his insurance money to set up his businesses and start off in his career. This shows to what extent Willy was willing to go to for his sons to succeed.

Biff on the other hand shows his protagonist nature by persisting in becoming an athlete earlier on in the play. He makes a promise to succeed and this shows how optimistic he was about it. Later on in the play after failing in his finals, his father gets an attitude towards him in the manner that he does not even want to listen to his business proposal when they meet in the restaurant. Willy still thinks of him as a failure to this moment because of his performance in his finals. Willy goes to his past employer to try and get his job back but unfortunately does not succeed. He does not give up but he later confronts Willy outside the house on a plot to reconcile with his father. Though it turns to an argument at the beginning, it ends well after he tells him to let go of the dream he still has for him because it does wait for him to this day. They hug and clear off the air and Biff tells his father Willy that he loves him.

Getrude was wife and queen to the deceased King Hamlet in the play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. She got married to the succeeding King, King Claudius, who is said to have murdered King Hamlet. She shows sympathy in the play to her son and also sarcastically foreshadows to Ophelia in her burial when she says that she had hoped for her to get married to her son. Later on in the play she get’s poisoned in place of her son through a drink meant for Hamlet during his fight with Laertes. She dies shouting in agony and calling out to her son.

I would take us to Host International since being an international hotel it would be suitable. First and foremost I would ask her why she chose or rather decided to marry the deceased King’s brother right after his death. In the play this left so much curiosity in me that I would like to be settled. In normal sense, this should have been a demoralizing act especially in the setting it was placed in. Then I would want to know from her directly why she was not as affected by her husband’s death as she should have been. This should have been a hard time in her life as she tried to recollect the pieces of her life after the incident. Even under the suspension of disbelief, I still would have asked this question. “If you happened to have been aware of King Claudius’ plan towards your son, would you still have taken the drink meant to kill him?”

Personally basing this on the knowledge of Getrude and the exposition in the play, I think the reason she would give as to the subsequent marriage to King Claudius was so that she had always envied the King’s brother even in her marriage with King Hamlet. This would have been the more convincing reason that dint demoralize her, having a hubris personality. To the question on why she did not get as affected by King Hamlet’s death, I think she would say that everyone has their own different ways catharsis and hers was the way that she did. Last but not least, she would say that she would have done it as a mother for the love of her son and so that he would live on his fathers’ life and dream and honor his name by regaining the throne to its rightful leader. Personally, I think the real not said reason would be a straight no.

Tragedy plays are mainly plays that have males as the main protagonists or whose major characters die or plays with shuttered hopes or null promises through trickery. So as to change Tartuffe to a tragedy play, first I would reverse the script that instead of Tartuffe being a friend to Orgon, he is an old friend to Elmire who she insists to his husband to let stay with them for some time. This breaks the obviousness of plays that the male is always the lead character. Tragedy would also be brought in the play Tartuffe by creating a relationship between Tartuffe and Damis. I would have it that Damis was old enough but his father had not yet given him his share of wealth and for this reason he grew to hate his father. So for this reason he befriends Tartuffe in a quest to the destruction of his father and the sharing of the property on Orgon’s downfall. Later on after Tartuffe has been arrested and truth is in the light about his plot with Tartuffe, he is arrested too and faces the same judgment

Looking at the plays Death of a Salesman and Tragedy of Hamlet, they have their differences and similarities despite being written by different authors. For instance the major similarity between the two is vivid as both Biff and Hamlet are in a conquest to meet certain expectations in their lives. Other than one of their parents being involved in an act that is greatly unpleasant to them they still look at the greater picture which is achieving what they have their minds set to. Biff catches his father Willy cheating while he was in a business trip and Hamlet’s mother, Getrude, marries the succeeding King who happens to be a brother to his deceased husband. Beef tries to explain to his father the new business idea he had but gets turned down whereas Hamlet engages in many fights in the quest to avenge his father and reclaim his place in the throne.

The setting itself raises the curtains for the differences between them. Whereas Death of a Salesman is set in a town and developed kind of setting, Tragedy of Hamlet is placed in a setting showing the ancient days when the rules of king’s existed and there was the hierarchical shift of power and thrones.

The play Death of a Salesman is meant to show how a father worked so hard in his lifetime so that his sons would grow up to be who he always thought of them to be except they grew up to be different people, who like different things and had different perceptions of their future. On realizing this after so many years, he does what the situation would only allow him to, so that he could be of assistance to his son’s success. He kills himself so that the son would use the life insurance money to start up the career he wanted.

In comparison to delusion, Willy and Linda Loman were really under the want that their sons make in life through education. This is shown when Willy complains to Linda about Biff not having made anything of him. We are then reminded him of how he had failed on his final math exam and failed to join college and his father changed his perception on his success.

In Tartuffe, women have been treated in a diminishing manner. In that Elmire is unable to change her husband’s mind about the son’s banishment after they tried to give reason to their father that Tartuffe had other bad motives to his stay. Normally as lady of the hose and mother to Damis she had a say in Orgon’s decision. This is also clear because roles of women in the play are fewer than those of men.

In The Tragedy of Hamlet, women have been given a vital role. They are present before King Hamlet dies and also after his succession. For example Getrude is wife to King Hamlet and also to King Claudius. However much she dies out of poisoning at the end, she is a lead character throughout the play being the queen to both kings.

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Death Dying and funeral as it relates to a social institution

Death Dying and funeral as it relates to a social institution

Death/ Dying and funeral as it relates to a social institution

From a social perspective, death translates into difficult encounter that the members of the affected social institution would like to get over soon. Loss and grieve characterize the mood of the bereaved in nearly all social institutions, a phenomenon of the advanced social life that human beings have. In a general setting, the departure of the diseased creates a somber detachment since the social bond that binds the members of a social institution is usually strongly manifested at that time. Loss of a loved one can leave a huge mark on the bereaved, especially in the family setting to such an extent that the emotional aspect of grieving is extended long after the burial. In such scenarios, assistance is necessitated by the fact that psychological breakdown can easily be experienced.

In the family setting for instance, the loss of a member can result in a serious foiled attachment consequence if the necessary psychological assistance is not accorded to the victim (Kennedy, 45). Some of the most devastating grieving experiences occasioned by the death of a family member include; loss of a child, loss of a spouse, loss of a parent and loss of a sibling. There may be other serious grieving scenarios where members of the extended family were closely attached to a member of the family such as what happens in a nuclear family. An example of a serious loss experience is when a grandparent dies when exercising the custody of his or her grandchildren, who get the shock upon the death. Te basic element of such grieving is the attachment that members of the family develop with each other over the years. In some situations, where the relations are tense and inappropriate to befit a family setting, death may not affect the bereaved.

Coping with the death of a close member of a social institution is a psychological state that only a few can handle. Psychological assistance is offered in assisting the grieving members to come to terms with the fact that the departed is finally gone and assist them continue with life without the dead. A series of stages are brought out in the grief and loss therapy where denial and anger are first dealt with. Acceptance of death and healing from the shock of the loss of a beloved one should facilitate the necessary coping that ends grieving (Moshe, 238). Episodes of bitter emotional breakdowns are expected in the sessions since grief and loss is a highly emotional therapy. Silence does not imply that every member of the family is well with the results of the loss and counseling sessions should be offered to tackle any withdrawal symptoms.

From a social conflict perspective, it is largely agreeable that several disputes arise from death of a member of a social institution. Ranging from petty burial site conflicts to complex inheritance rows, death has been recorded as a source of discord among members of a social institution. According to Maslin (8), the death of a parent can be a source of misunderstanding and conflict among siblings. In areas where a family’s rule may be seen to be under threat, the death of the parent may cause tension not only among the members of the family but also among the power searching opponents of such a political organization thereby creating a conflict (Scheele, 860). From the conflict perspective, it follows that the death of a member of a social institution creates an instability that seems almost impossible to be present while the member is alive. For instance, for inheritance wrangles among members of a family upon the death of a parent, the conflicting parties would find it inappropriate to instigate any differences in the presence of their parent. As reported by McGoldrick (441), issues arise regarding the will of the dying which can result in a preventable conflict. The author holds the opinion that if the appropriate intervention is sought before the dying leaves the uncertainty in the will at the final moments of life, then conflicts would not be prevalent.

From a symbolic interactionism approach, death is a moment that defines the relationship that one has over his or her entire life. People create relationships with both humans and objects to build their own constructs about life and they stick to their perceptions till death. At their hour of death, what was uniquely dear to them may be manifested to reveal a part of their character that others did not know. One of the main reasons why people develop such unique relationship perceptions is dependent on their social life with their social world. According to Abbuhl (1), it is clear that at death, one’s own social life may be subject of analysis to reveal how important social life is to every human being. For instance, the disclosure of love for musical instruments attested by the presence of a variety of collections for the same can be used to draw a conclusion of how the dead person lived among music lovers.

Works Cited

Abbuhl, Shannon “Extreme Isolation of Symbolic Interaction,” 2010. Web. HYPERLINK “http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~sa337397/symbolic.htm” http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~sa337397/symbolic.htm (Accessed 25 April 2011)

Kennedy, A. Your loved one lives on within you. New York, NY: Berkley Publishers, 1997. Print

Maslin, Janet “Carefree Look at Death Reveals Family Conflicts: Review.” New York Times, Issue 24 April 1992, p.8. Print

McGoldrick, Monica “Thoughts on the Importance of Wills in Family Relationships: A Clinical Approach to Elizabeth Stone.” Family Process, 47.4(2008):441-444

Moshe, Israelashvili “Staying Normal in an Abnormal Corner of the World: Mental Health Counseling in Israel,” HYPERLINK “http://search.proquest.com.ezp.pasadena.edu/docview.lateralsearchlink_1:lateralsearch/sng/pubtitle/Journal+of+Mental+Health+Counseling/$N?t:ac=198719833/12EF3B6DF0C196740A1/2&t:cp=maintain/resultcitationblocks” o “Click to search for more items from this journal” Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 27.3(2005):238-248

Scheele, Judith “Algerian Graveyard Stories.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 12.4(2006):859-879

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Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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“Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe

Al though written by two different authors and set on different grounds, the two texts, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller and “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe compare to a great extent. In both Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, there is a clear outline of the notion of success, despite the different settings of the literary works. Things fall apart presents the notion of success in an African point of view during the pre-colonial and colonial periods. On the other hand, the Death of a Salesman highlights the idea of success in America and the epitome of the American dream. Despite their varied settings, these two books highlight how the idea of being successful can affects the whole society.

In Things Fall apart, the author begins by exposing his main character, Okonkwo, who has risen to the halls of fame by his achievements (Things Fall Apart p.3). As a young man of eighteen years, he brought glory to his village when he defeated Amalinze the Cat, a famous warrior with an unbeaten record standing of seven years. Okonkwo wanted to be famous; he requested the elders to arrange a match between the two of them. Although the elders were a bit petrified, they went ahead to organize the fiercest battles the village had ever witnessed. It was the desire to rebuild his father’s lost glory that drives Okonkwo to the realm of personal achievement. This is evident when he beats the Amanzi, the most feared warrior.

Unoka, Okonkwo’s father, was viewed by his clansmen as a failure. The writer informs us that Unoka was lazy and improvident during his days. He was a man who could not foresee the future and exploit his present position to help him evade the future calamities. Furthermore, the author says that whenever Unoka got money (which he rarely did), he would call his folks and make merry. He was always in debt; he owed every clansman some bit of cash. As a result, he died in debt. Okonkwo seeks to reverse his father’s failures to his own success. In Okonkwo’s world, his father’s calamities tormented him simultaneously and drove him towards attaining his highest ambitions in life (Bloom p.8).

In chapter two, Achebe outlines Okonkwo’s successful war stories. He was a warrior with thirst for blood; unlike his father, a coward, who feared the sight of war. When sent for any mission, he hardly returns without a human head. When a daughter of Umuofia is murdered, Okonkwo is appointed to wage war to the offending clan. The unchallengeable Okonkwo enters into the enemy territory and captures a girl and a lad named Ikemefuna. The elders increased their honor for Okonkwo, and his fame spread like lightning.

The elders direct Ikemefuna to live with Okonkwo. The lad considers Okonkwo as his own biological father. However, things go wrong for Ikemefuna when the Oracle of Umuofia decrees his death for the appeasement of the land. Ezeudu informs Okonkwo to detach himself from the boy’s murder, but the adamant Okonkwo, driven by the lust for success, throws the final blow that murders Ikemefuna. This part proves that Okonkwo would do anything to achieve fame and success; even if it meant killing a kinsman.

After seeing the White man’s establishments, the desire to conserve the traditional heritage of Umuofia possessed Okonkwo. Together with a few elders, they try to reclaim their lost glory by burning a local Christian Church. They are later captured and imprisoned by the colonial government. The people of Umuofia mounted a strong a great uprising when they saw the strange turn of events. The government gets wind of the happenings and sends messengers to Umuofia. Okonkwo, out of rage, kills one of the messengers. He later hangs himself when the colonial leaders come to take him to court.

The notion of success in the Death of a Salesman mirrors that in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. The characters in Arthur’s play base their concept of success in the American dream, which hypothesizes that anyone can be become successful irrespective of where they started. According to this hypothesis, an individual had to work hard; persevere and have a charming personality to be successful. The same is reflected in the character of Willy Lowman, who views success as a product of hard work and popularity (p. 9).

As a salesman, Willey developed a charming personality which made him popular with his buyers. He tries to instill the same in his two boys, Happy and Biff. While bringing them up, he tells them success is all about hard work and popularity. For instance, when Biff confesses to making fun of a teacher, Willey is more concerned with the reaction of Biff’s classmates. When he realizes that Biff’s colleagues liked the joke, Willy knows that his son will become popular, hence successful in the course of his life. He forgets to teach him morality.

Willy struggles to provide for his family and does not seem to make ends meet. This is evident from his sales in Providence and Boston (p. 35). His desire is to give his household what they desire champions his daily routine schedule of hard work. He wants to be successful; being honored by his colleagues and neighborhood alike. Despite this dream, he is always in debt and has to grapple with his little salary to fend for his household. The events complicated their lives, and at the age of 60 years, Willy was still struggling to meet his American dream.

Willy’s brother, Ben, is his source of inspiration to achieve the American dream of success. Ben’s adventurous nature shows some of the elements of Willy’s pursuit of success; seeking greater chances in order to become wealthy (48). His brother’s memory sparks his continued search for material excesses. Willy wished that he had exploited his youthfulness to gain material wealth.

Happy, in his pursuit of riches, wishes the death of the merchandise manager so that he can replace him (Act one p.17). He views the manager as a successful fellow; He constructed a beautiful estate in Long Island where he stayed for a couple of months before selling the estate. Later on, the manager begins constructing another estate that is yet to be finished. Happy feels that, in the absence of the manager, he would be able to enjoy such privileges as well; a furnished apartment, a car and plenty of women surrounding him. Therefore, we are left to wonder the degree to which somebody can seek for material wealth.

Biff is not left out either. After finishing his high school, he goes out job-hunting. His driving principle is success. In his dialogue with Happy after returning home, he narrates how he has tried close to thirty jobs in a row, without getting personal satisfaction. He had herded cattle in Dakota, Arizona, and numerous other places (p.16). With his meager earnings, he realized he realizes he could not sustain himself and decides to go back home. His unsuccessful stories greatly disappoint his father.

From these two books, the notion of success is rather similar. Different characters develop a zeal that propels them to realize success. However, there is a slight difference in the nature of success. In Achebe’s book, the main protagonist, Okonkwo, seeks for leadership success. He wants to rise to the level which no clansman has reached. Through his hard work and courage, he was able to rise to a number of ranks in Umuofia. In the Death of a Salesman, different characters strive to achieve material success. Willy, with his hypothesis of hard work and popularity as the pillars to success, strives hard to achieve recognition through his riches.

Despite their different settings, these characters sacrifice their own happiness with the oblivion of success. Okonkwo, for example, kills ikemefuna, a boy he raises up in a bid to achieve social standing. Willy sacrifices his happiness and that of his entire family in a bid to achieve the American dream of success. Towards the end of these two books, the main protagonists suffer humiliation and isolation and eventually meet their untimely death. The authors, Chinua Achebe and Arthur Miller, therefore, warn their audiences against obsession with success.

Works Cited

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 2010. Internet resource.

Miller, Arthur, and Enoch Brater. Death of a Salesman. London: Methuen Drama, 2010. Print.

Bloom, Harold. Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. New York, NY: Bloom’s Literary Criticism,

2010. Print.

Bloom, Harold. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers,

2004. Internet resource.

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death by socrates

death by socrates

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Introduction

Death is one of the most discussed topics in the entire world. It surpasses any boundaries pertaining to subject, topic, discipline, or even religion. Quite a lot of people have made incredible quotes and written volumes of literary works pertaining to the subject. One of the most prolific philosopher, Socrates, expressed his various attitudes about death. From his works, he held three attitudes about death. He stated that death is unknown, in which case anyone who is afraid of death would be basing his fears on ignorance as he does not have any knowledge of it. In his later works, Socrates expressed the goodness of death and reasoned that it must be either going to another place or a dreamless sleep. However, he could not tell whether death was better than life. In still another literary work, Socrates opined that the soul lives even after death and offered various arguments to the effect that the virtues of the soul are rewarded. Of these three arguments, I think the first one is the most plausible. Little is known about death, in which case anyone who fears it would be basing his fears on ignorance.

First, it is worth noting that all these positions are made by the same individual. The fact that he held three positions about the same thing should confirm that there is little or no knowledge about death. This is the same case that applies to the various arguments about death. The disagreements about the various aspects are allowed to continue without much challenge since no one knows about death. In essence, all arguments about death are mere speculation with no basis on truth since there exists no way of ascertaining their truth.

Moreover, it would be extremely impossible to verify or ascertain whether there is life after death. Of course, quite a lot of literature has been written about life after death. This is especially so in religious literature that outlines that there is another life after death. Other forms of religious literature insist on reincarnation and state that an individual is born again in the same world as a human being, or another animal or plant depending on his or her actions in the previous life. However, it goes without saying that there is no way of ascertaining these claims, simply because no one has ever died or gone to the other life and returned to tell the side of the story. In any case, if human beings used to live before their present lives, how come no one seems to remember any aspects of the previous lives? Of course, clinicians have tried to support this notion using some near-death experiences of their patients where patients talk of their experience and even outline some aspects that seem to indicate that the soul continues living after the body dies. It is worth noting, however, that these are near death experiences and not death in its entirety. In essence, these experiences cannot be used as conclusive evidence of the notion that the soul will survive the body. This confirms the fact that virtually nothing is known about death in which case feelings about it are based on faith rather than facts.

Moreover, there exists an element or aspect of ambiguity as to the beginning of life and its end or even the beginning of death. While there are quite a number of definitions, there is agreement that death means that the soul has been separated from the body. In this case, it would be deduced that the soul adds life to the body. As much as it would be reasonable to assume that the mind and soul and the body are two distinct things, it, however, does not imply in any way that the soul continues living after the “conventional” death. In fact, death may, as well, mean that the soul itself has died, in which case it does not add life to the body, thereby causing what people know as death. This, therefore, raises doubts on the notion that the soul or life survives the body and that it is rewarded in the afterlife for all the virtues that it incorporates. This is simply because there is no clear way of exactly what death encompasses. In the same way, it would be impossible to confirm the goodness of death or even to state whether it is better when alive or dead. People have not been provided with sufficient empirical evidence or even facts pertaining to death as to make clear, logical and conscious deductions pertaining to death. This blurs the notion that death is better than life or even whether death is a dreamless sleep. In addition, it remains unclear whether the soul survives the body. This underlines the fact that death is unknown in all or at least most of its aspects. In essence, any emotions tied to any “knowledge” of death are baseless as there is virtually no knowledge about the same. Death may be the stepping stone to a better or worse life or eternal sleep. Either way, there exists no way of ascertaining or knowing about it other than going through it, leaving people in the circle of ignorance.

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Death at a Funeral is a manifestation of racial identities typical of contemporary American cultural presentations.

Death at a Funeral is a manifestation of racial identities typical of contemporary American cultural presentations.

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Death at a Funeral

America is at the heart of a fresh era of films with racist connotations. The films define race in a very different way as compared to early films – a far more open approach to racism. Of course, racism has dominated American films for decades. The earliest movie that made racism a subject was The Birth of a Nation in 1915 in which the roots of Ku Klux Klan was celebrated. Movies also highlighted slavery in light of the white perspective on the topic. Classic movies like Gone with the Wild paid greater attention to the manner in which brute slave labor enhanced the lives of the whites – their idealism, romance and gallantry. The civil rights movement came out strongly to strike a balance between whites and blacks by the counter-narrative – Roots – that revealed the disguised cruelty in the white charm. Divisions have intensified since these early times. Movies by white people often justify the struggles whites endure in coexisting with the blacks. Similarly, movies by black people often justify the struggles blacks endure in coexisting with the whites. The division has intensified even in movies that incorporate aspects of both blacks and whites. Jungle Fever and Do the Right Thing were a manifestation of the difficulty in reconciling black and white narratives. At one moment, the two are together as depicted in some films while at yet another moment the two are torn apart in other films. This confusion is even worse than what used to be at the beginnings. Death at a Funeral is a manifestation of racial identities typical of contemporary American cultural presentations.

Introducing the Expert

Kwame Anthony Appiah is a Ghanaian of British origin. He is a novelist, cultural theorist and philosopher. His areas of interest are philosophy of mind and language, political and moral theory, and African intellectual history. Appiah was bred in Ghana but pursued his Ph.D. at Cambridge University. He taught philosophy at the Princeton University before proceeding to the New York University early this year. Currently, Appiah is a member of New York University’s departments of law and philosophy.

Appiah’s dissertation at Cambridge University was an exploration of the challenges in semantics. He is attributed to the 1992 award winning novel In My Father’s House. His later books included The Ethics of Identity, Color Consciousness and Cosmopolitan: Ethics in a World of Strangers. He was also an editor of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience. In 1995, Appiah became a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Appiah believes that racial identities are part of expressing membership to particular groups, but the same should be practiced in a manner that does not violate other people’s membership to the larger society.

Summary of Death at a Funeral

The film is all about a funeral ceremony. Aaron and Ryan’s father is being buried. The funeral is marked by comical events, which are sad at the same time. Race is at the helm of these comic events. One Frank, a white man, comes from nowhere to mess up with the burial arrangements. He claims he had an intimate relationship with the deceased and has photos to prove his point. The funeral owners, all blacks, cannot take any of that. They decide to silence Frank through a heavy dose of a hallucinogenic substance. When Frank is unconscious, they stash him in the coffin. Unfortunately, Frank regains consciousness when the funeral program is underway. He breaks away from the coffin, with the photos scattering all over the ground, raising tensions.

Appiah’s Take on Racial Identities

Appiah is the postmodern Socrates. He questions what being an African or African-American entails. However, the answers he offers raise pertinent issues that are all inclusive (that is, encompass all people). Appiah’s major concern is how people construct themselves individually in the society, privately or publicly, presently or in the past. This situation prompts him to explore the complexity of the process of personal possession. He stresses the dangers and opportunities of self-creation in a world that is culturally hybrid and ethically fluid. He formulates standards to measure the morality of people’s lives today while obliging people to examine those lifestyles and restructure them accordingly.

Death at a Funeral is racially charged. Blacks dominate the cast, and the atmosphere is one against the whites. Aaron and Ryan are determined not to cause shame and embarrassment to their deceased father. The white man – Frank –, who appears from the blues on the funeral day, is armed with loads of evidence to tarnish the deceased’s name. He encounters a combined force of black men. The demonstration of hatred starts when Frank ridicules Aaron’s novels as lacking flavor. This comment angers Aaron to the extremes until Aaron withdraws from the $30,000 deal he had made with Frank to keep him off the funeral. Aaron and his group resort to tyranny of numbers to eliminate Frank. They administer a toxic drug to Frank, which makes him run wild. As if that is not enough, the black group does the extraordinary – they fix the white enemy into a coffin. Although sounding comical, the racial setting and interpretation is quite sad. This incident is one of the gravest manifestations of racial identity. The blacks are so tired of whites that burying them alive is the best remedy.

As Appiah articulates, “…racial identification is simply harder to resist than ethnic identification. The reason is twofold. First, racial ascription is more socially salient… Secondly, race is taken by so many people to be the basis of treating people differently” (Appiah 46). So entrenched is racial identification in American society that all spheres of life, including cultural presentations, want to manifest it. Death at a Funeral is among many other films that present race as a cultural aspect of the society. According to Appiah, “There is not now and there has never been a common culture in the United States” (50). Appiah then argues that collective identities force people to behave in certain ways so that to fit within the ideals of their group: “The large collective identities that call for recognition come with notions of how a proper person of that kind behaves: it is not that there is one way that blacks should behave, but that there are proper black modes of behavior” (57).

The language in the film is laced with racial connotations. The tone is in most cases a commanding one. The word “negro” is prevalent, portraying the extreme extent of division. Frank rubbishes Aaron’s writings as worthless and with no grip at all on sensitive issues. What he means is that Aaron writes issues that do not relate to the “ideal” lives of dominant whites. Frank despises Aaron’s works, saying that he cannot spend a cent his to purchase the same. The same happens to the language of Aaron and his squad. They talk ill of Frank when he becomes unconscious. The decision they make to stash Frank into the coffin is totally against moral considerations. They rejoice at that collective action, which to them is well deserved. Appiah comments as follows, “An African-American after the Black Power movement takes the old script of self-hatred, the script in which he or she is a nigger, and works, in community with others, to construct a series of positive black life scripts. In these life scripts, being a Negro is recorded as being black: and this requires, among other things, refusing to assimilate to white norms of speech and behavior” (59). Blacks are adorned in black suits matching their color whereas whites are adorned in pale colors. The viewer notices this disparity outright.

Conclusion

Death at a Funeral, therefore, is a classic manifestation of the racially charged American society. Much has been done to fight racism from all angles, but it will certainly never end. As Appiah has articulated in his academic work, racial identity is different from other forms of identity. However, in as much as people identify themselves along racial lines, Appiah urges people to recognize contingency and practice irony. It is only better for the film industry to reconsider racial connotations of the films they release. Hollywood influences huge masses, and their presentation of race as a good thing will only polarize American society more and extend it to the world.

Works Cited

Appiah, Kwame Anthony. Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race. New Jersey:

Princeton University Press, 1996. 40-60.

Cinema Blend. Death at a Funeral (2010). Cinemablend, 2010. Accessed at

HYPERLINK “http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Death-at-a-Funeral-2010-4581.html” http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/Death-at-a-Funeral-2010-4581.html 8 November 2014.

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